By Guy Finley
No relationship in life can be any more successful than what we are willing to learn about ourselves through it. The moment we turn our back on what others give us to see about ourselves, we not only walk away from what we need to see, but also from the better person we could be. . . were we only willing to learn the lesson at hand.
The success of our relationships with others depends on a two-part key that unlocks our potential to love: First, we are asked to do the interior work of becoming aware of ourselves in a whole new way. Second, we must learn to welcome what this new light reveals to us about ourselves. One without the other is useless.
Our responsibility is not to try and enhance ourselves through our various relationships in life, but rather to discover and realize ourselves through them. Think of the vast difference between these two pursuits. One brings endless ways in which we feel we must make painful compromises with others in order to protect what we have “gained” through them. The other way leads us to the gradual realization of an interior greatness that can neither be enslaved nor corrupted. Only our awakening can end the aching inherent in the many ways we have become falsely dependent upon others. Those who depend on others to provide them with their sense of worth are co-dependent; each must have the other to keep the illusion alive, even though by feeding this relationship they effectively separate themselves from the possibility of ever knowing their true value.
Anyone we enable, we disable . . . including ourselves. And there’s only one reason any two people consent to compromise themselves in this way: neither has yet discovered the truth of who they really are.
We can never enable someone else without having first disabled our own higher nature that knows better than to bargain for friendship, love–or just to feel “needed” in some way. Resentment and regret are the bitter fruit of all co-dependent relationships, because the ground out of which they grow is self-compromise disguised as caring for one another. We cannot authentically care for another until we carry within us the lighted lamp of higher self-understanding.
A big part of our inner work in all of our relationships involves remembering this key idea: Whenever we are not present and properly attentive to ourselves, we may be sure the false self is busy attending to something we’ll be paying for in the days ahead. Disconcerting, yes; but there’s no denying it: there are unconscious parts of us that feel good about getting us to do wrong! No form of co-dependent behaviour thrives without an unseen character at work within us, providing it with the conditions it needs to flourish.
Welcome these next insights. Let your intuition instruct you as to how to apply the lessons they impart. Use their light to help you see some of the invisible ways in which we not only enable but spiritually disable friends, family, loved ones, and ourselves.
Making “Peace” with People Who Would Punish Us
There are parts of us that would rather be punished by unkind people than have to spend one minute being alone, because the only way these same parts in us can exist is if they have someone to resent or somehow fear. In this case we remain in these ruinous relationships because the fear or emptiness we feel in even considering leaving them seems to be too much to bear on our own.
Here’s the key to escaping this captivity: This familiar fear–of being alone in life–feels real, no doubt; but it belongs to an imagined self. We must now act on what we know is the truth of our condition, instead of remaining its captive. Translation: Walk away from anyone who “helps” you to feel that it’s necessary for you to hurt; leave anyone who causes you pain for “your own good.” Here’s the rule to remember: Never accept as natural or necessary any relationship outwardly–or inwardly–with a person or psychological state that punishes you. Say “No” and just go! A whole new and independent life awaits you.
Whenever we allow angry parts of us to cast blame on others for the conditions we find ourselves in, we enable the false self to keep dreaming that if it weren’t for others doing us wrong we would never feel so angry, defeated, or depressed.
The truth is there are unconscious parts of us that readily find fault with others in a misguided effort to remain infallible in our own eyes. Each time we blame someone else, we agree to remain asleep in this misery-making mistaken identity. Saying “No” to this nature is saying good-bye to a host of imagined enemies this false self needs to remain itself, as well as to a war that can never be won.
What should be clear now is that we have to do a special kind of inner work if we wish to catch and cancel self-harming co-dependent behavior. It’s not enough to just talk about achieving a good, contented life. Anyone can talk about that, and most do. Few will really do the interior work it takes to be free, which is why we must be different.
We must learn to put the Light of Truth before all things. No such effort ever goes unrewarded. Little by little the living Light reveals within us a new and higher order of strength that has no problem saying “No” to those unconscious parts of us that care for nothing and no one, not even themselves! This new “No” then becomes a “Yes” to self-wholeness–the secret source of all healthy, happy, and unlimited relationships.
(Excerpted from The Essential Laws of Fearless Living by Guy Finley, Weiser Books)
About Guy Finley
Guy Finley is the bestselling author of The Secret of Letting Go, The Courage to Be Free, and 40 other works that have sold over a million copies in 20 languages worldwide. His newest book, The Seeker, The Search, The Sacred (2011, Weiser Books) reveals the common thread that runs through every human heart: the wish to unite with the divine. The book is part of a larger project to share this healing message with the world. Visit One Journey to learn how you can help change the world.